Debate about who will present MotoGP on tele has raged ever since the May announcement that BT Sport had obtained exclusive rights to air MotoGP in the United Kingdom.The social media sphere has been packed with rumour over the last seven months with names from Neil Hodgson to Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, yes really...) Eurosport’s Toby Moody and Julian Ryder, the BBC’s Steve Parrish, Eurosport Superbike commentator and former racer, James Whitham and Dorna’s World Feed commentary lead, Gavin Emmett have all been linked to commentary roles with the firm at one point or another.
But as the official announcement looms, Bike Social can at least confirm who won’t be part of the BT Team. This week, Toby Moody announced via Twitter that he wouldn’t be commentating on MotoGP in the UK, quashing rumours of Eurosport’s long-term, popular duo of Moody and Julian Ryder moving over to BT Sport together.
“I wanted you to hear direct from me that I will not part of the UK commentary line-up for MotoGP in 2014.” Moody said.
“I've worked on MotoGP for 18 years, something I'm very proud of. I'll still be around so will see more great racing. I will return to a TV screen near you very soon; you guys will know first when I do. Thank you for all your support. Plenty of voice left!”
Since the launch of BT Sport last year, the firm have brought in numerous former sports professionals to head their coverage. For example, former England star, Michael Owen was introduced as one of the commentators for the channel’s coverage of the Premier League.
If BT were to have a former racer on their MotoGP commentary team, one option would certainly be former 500cc Grand Prix star Steve Parrish, who having spent years in commentary roles at the BBC wouldn’t need much practice.
However, speaking to Bike Social earlier today, Parrish confirmed he will not form part of BT’s initial line up.
“At this moment in time, I have no plans in MotoGP for this year but that’s not to say it will stay like that.” Parrish commented.
“I can confirm I will not be involved in BT’s commentary team. I did express an interest in the role, along with about twenty other people but to be honest, in many ways it works in my favour because I’ll be able to do a lot more things that I couldn’t do in previous years.”
Parrish wouldn’t rule out working with BT, who will reportedly air a range of MotoGP shows to complement their live coverage.
“I’m not saying I won’t be involved at all but at this moment in time there is nothing sorted. I’m not sure if BT have fully finalised their plans but there could be a possibility I’ll be involved in some way or another but not in commentary”.
Another racer initially linked to BT Sport is Eurosport Superbike commentator and general funny guy, James Whitham. However Bike Social sources suggest Whitham confirmed he would not be part of the team while on stage as part of his 2014 chat-show tour with Carl Fogarty. Whitham will continue to commenate on World and British Superbikes for Eurosport.
The former British Superbike runner up reportedly suggested favourites for the role seem to be Sky’s former line up of Julian Ryder and Keith Heuwen, a thought echoed by Steve Parrish.
“I get the feeling that BT Sport is going to try and recreate the olden days” Parrish told Bike Social.
“Rumours suggest it could be Julian Ryder and Keith Heuwen. These two were one of the first commentary duos on pay-per-view TV back in the nineties, but these are just rumours and I don’t know if contracts are signed.”
Former Grand Prix racer, Keith Huewen and long-time motorcycle journalist Julian Ryder first teamed up in the early nineties when Sky secured a deal to show the Motorcycle Grand Prix championship. The pair remained together with Sky as the broadcaster switched to show coverage of World Superbikes in 1993. In May last year, Bike Social reported Heuwen was being lined up for the role, although as yet there is no official confirmation.
With the likes of Whitham, Moody and Parrish confirming they won’t be part of the team an announcement could be imminent. The powers of deduction leave few names remaining in the pot.
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